Become a Truck Driver | Truck Driving Schools Kimberly AL

How to Select a Truck Driver School near Kimberly Alabama

Kimberly AL truck driving school campusCongrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Kimberly AL. Perhaps it has always been your ambition to hit the open highway while driving a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible work opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to obtain the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to think about before making your final choice. Location will undoubtedly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Kimberly residence. The expense will also be important, but selecting a school based solely on price is not the ideal means to make certain you’ll receive the right training. Don’t forget, your objective is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to cover in the balance of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.

Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Require?

long haul tractor trailer in Kimberly ALIn order to operate commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Kimberly AL, an operator needs to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a driver can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.

Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be able to drive with Class A licenses are:

  • Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
  • Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
  • Tanker Trucks
  • Livestock Carriers
  • Class B and Class C Vehicles

Class B CDL. A Class B CDL is required to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:

  • Tractor Trailers
  • Dump Trucks
  • Cement Mixers
  • Large Buses
  • Class C Vehicles

Both Class A and Class B Commercial Drivers Licenses may also need endorsements to operate certain types of vehicles, for instance school or passenger buses. And a Class A license holder, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B licensee is qualified to operate.

How to Research a Truck Driving School

Questions to ask Kimberly AL truck driving schoolsOnce you have decided which CDL you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of researching the Kimberly AL truck driving schools that you are considering. As already mentioned, location and cost will certainly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other variables, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are similarly or even more important. So below are a few more things that you should research while performing your due diligence before selecting, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.

Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many truck driving schools in the Kimberly AL area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more typical and is provided by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will be given lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will satisfy the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.

How Long in Business? One indicator to help assess the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the best of Kimberly AL schools had to start from their opening day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain associations with local and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Alabama licensing authority to verify that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in good standing.

How Good is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Alabama and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will cover more about the instructors in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personalized instruction they will need. This is particularly true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short period of time. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Kimberly AL schools offer training courses that run from three weeks to as long as 2 months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.

How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to be certified as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing teachers might be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the ideal method is to visit the school and speak with the instructors face to face. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and find out if they are happy with the level of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.

How Much Driving Time? Most importantly, a great truck driver school will provide plenty of driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training methods, they are no alternative for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will become. Although driving time can vary between schools, a reasonable benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide at least 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Kimberly AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.

Are they Captive or Independent ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from certain truck driving schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined amount of time. This is called contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of having relationships with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you have an opportunity. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income prospects when starting out. But for many it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just remember to find out if the Kimberly AL schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.

Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit 3rd party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Alabama, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates from other schools for test times at Alabama testing facilities. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV deems the approved schools to be of a higher quality.

Are the Classes Convenient? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about one to two months in length. With such a brief term, it’s essential that the Kimberly AL school you choose offers flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other commitments.

Is Job Placement Offered? The moment you have received your CDL license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Confirm that the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement rate is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for employment. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Kimberly AL employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to search elsewhere.

Is Financial Aid Given? Truck driver schools are similar to colleges and other Kimberly AL area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Find out if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at a minimum someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.

Enrolling in a Truck Driving School near Kimberly AL?

If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Kimberly Alabama area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.

Kimberly, Alabama

The city of Kimberly developed around a stagecoach station built in the 1830s; it remained in service until 1865. At this time, the settlement was known as Kennelsville. The city then became known as Jefferson, probably after the nearby Old Jefferson coal mine, until the late 1880s. In 1888, the town's post office was relocated to nearby Morris. In 1905, the town voted to change its name to Kimberly because another Alabama town had already claimed the name Jefferson. The town had a population of around 900 by 1910. Local coal mines were primary employers in Kimberly and were active through the 1940s, gradually closing down during the 1950s. Another significant employer in Kimberly was the Dixie Firebrick Company, founded in the 1930s; it was later bought out by A.P. Green Refractories Company. This facility shut down sometime in the mid-1970s. The city officially incorporated in 1952. Many city records and history were lost in a fire at the city hall in 1989.[3] Beginning June 29, 2011, due to the population increasing from 1,801 persons in 2000 to 2,711 in 2010, the town began operating as a city, per Alabama law.

Kimberly is located at 33°46′16″N 86°47′43″W / 33.77111°N 86.79528°W / 33.77111; -86.79528 (33.771163, -86.795280).[4] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10 km2), all land.

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 1,801 people, 652 households, and 528 families residing in the town. The population density was 447.8 people per square mile (173.0/km²). There were 699 housing units at an average density of 173.8 per square mile (67.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.78% White, 1.61% Black or African American, 0.61% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.44% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 1.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Choose the Best Truck Driver School Kimberly AL

tractor trailer hauling construction materials in Kimberly ALSelecting the ideal truck driver school is an essential first step to beginning your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options available and understanding them is vital to a new driver’s success. Most importantly, you must receive the appropriate training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking funds or financing, you might need to look into a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your choice. But regardless of how you receive your training, you will in the near future be part of an industry that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Kimberly AL.

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